FAFLive Roadmap

9

It's been a bit over half a year since me and ftx created https://www.twitch.tv/faflive, an official FAF streaming hub focused on covering tournaments and running various events. I've had the idea for it for a while from the old official faf twitch run by Zep which had been greatly successful but was lost with Zep's departure from FAF.
I thought now would be a good time to review the progress and state my mind on the plans and goals of the channel.

Progress recap:

The channel currently sits at 843 followers and with Spring Invitational coverage bringing in almost as many followers as LoTS on top of what we already had there is a trend of healthy rapid growth which I expect to continue until the active FAF userbase depletes itself after which there could be different options to try and expand the channel further.

The accumulated stream revenue is closing in on 200$ which I suggested is used on showmatches as it is a fun format and provides longer viewing experience for the funds available, it's also just a format strangely underused on FAF. The participants to be voted in by viewers or/and done via some sort of wheel of fortune or a hybrid system aimed at fairness.

Plans:

Currently channel is Twitch Affiliate and I'd like to have it promoted to Partner as that will reduce the Twitch money cut and give additional cool extra features, the only requirement missing is amount of days streamed. I don't want to clutter the channel with things like random ladder streams to not bring the engagement down, and right now we have an off-season for tourneys so we need to create some content to stream.

These are the requirements for Partnership
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With this in mind if you are a top player interested in playing something that will be casted to fill the stream time please post below, if there is any interest I'd like to use the momentum we got from streaming Spring Invitational and complete the quota. The format I'm not sure about yet, but could be anything. Currently we don't yet have the payout set up yet while we are figuring out the best person to manage the funds based on country, taxes, free time and trust but for now can make some unique avatar prize. It won't be a conventional showmatch anyway as we need to fill 8 days of streams, unless we have at least 3-4 players willing to help which would be enough.

We currently have 2 emote slots which I plan to fill with some fantastic creations of mine once the motivation to forge them comes. The overlay can also be reworked, the current one I made as practice and while it serves the purpose it could definitely be improved.

Goals:

Last LoTS peaked at 276 viewers, would be nice if we can reach 350 for next one, 400 would be a huge success in my mind.

Also to increase the overall stream production and casting quality to generate more revenue and use that to host more events and potentially kickstart a self-sufficient ecosystem of competitive scene growth. This is probably the entire idea of the channel, as FAF has been growing for a long time and recently more than ever but the proportion of good players compared to casuals has not been impressive what so ever and while certainly in part it's due to the age of the game I attribute a large part of it to lack of care from the big casting figures.

Thinking back on how I became a top player, it was largely because I discovered FAF through TA4Life's youtube channel on which he was casting competitive 1v1 almost exclusively, and watching some of those plays is what fueled my entire motivation to play and try to get casted with some of my own cool plays. With TA's departure there was a long time period where there was absolutely no coverage of anything competitive scene related except for players streaming their POV until JaggedAppliance took up the torch. That is to say in my opinion discrepancy between FAF's growth and its lack of promising new talent is due to lack of public outreach. Newshub is only read by the active community and even that only in part, if you are just a casual searching FA on Youtube or Twitch and click on the first/biggest thing that pops up you will likely be met with some kind of Dual Gap or, if lucky, blessed by a teamgame or senton neither of which really gives any indication that the community doesn't just consist entirely of nostalgia driven dudes hopping in for a round of big robot shoot big robot twice a year but actually has matchmaking, tournaments and all the cool active community stuff.

We definitely owe people like LegendOfTheStars, Swkoll, Morax, Stups and other major donators for keeping a lot of the interest alive but I don't want FAF to just keep relying on luck with generous patrons. I hope to one day reach the point where the viewership generates enough motivation for the players and in turn players and casters generate motivation for the viewers to become the players, to the point that we don't have tournament off-seasons in FAF. Probably too ambitious but going well so far.

Another point is about FA viewability improvements, namely it looks "slow" from viewers perspective and 1v1 looks too "spammy". I think both can be vastly improved.

For the first one I think the way people cast FA is fundamentally wrong, I already voiced my opinion on this to ftx and Swkoll, not to go into detail but in short I think casting primarily zoomed in is the right way, it however has some technical limitations that need to be solved for it to be properly tried out. It also needs a lot more effort and skill on caster's part to properly capture everything but the end result is worth it in my opinion.

As for the second point, that is not a problem of 1v1 but a problem of maps and game design both of which can be adjusted. Mappers and mapgen can definitely be guided towards less snowbally maps and as far as game design I have long-term plans to make a unit interaction redesign mod after some of the balance stuff is out of the way.

That's it, again if you are interested in helping with fulfilling the quota post below.

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I am interested in helping out by playing a high level series, just lacking opponents but perhaps we can convince BH or Nexus to play if the series would take place on map gen maps.
I could also schedule some custom 1vs1 games and stream my POV but I am not sure if you would be interested in that.

4

100% agree - Proper casting and coverage of tourneys is essential, including promo etc. Cultivating the twitch channel is paramount for this. As written in the showmatch thread, I am willing to participate in a showmatch.

3

After some talk with BH we came up with some more ideas for events to fulfill the quota some of which include intermediate-upcomer player showmatches, 2v2s and various FFA stuff so if you are ~1700+ on ladder or a strong teamgame player (no astrogap only pls) and are interested post below, only thing required is being responsible enough to actually show up. As for what kind of events to hold me or ftx will talk to the players and decide once we have a scope of what we are working with.

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As you know, there are raids on twitch, perhaps after some kind of tournament, you can transfer the audience 2-3 times larger channel for StartCraft or another strategy, thereby trying to attract a streamer to our game, audience, as well as possibly raids streamer to our streamers? I don’t know about you, but I’ve already started to strongly push away from the game because the gameplay is as monotonous as possible, and there is no personal growth. And to watch from day to day, as Nexus, Tagada humiliate all others no longer amuses me. I like the way Farms and Yudi present their game at the same time with humor, perhaps their format will be more interesting .. Idk,just thoughts...

2

I am interested in joining a showmatch. Especially a 2v2 match. Rating wise I peaked at close to 1800 tmm rating before the reset. Ladder I am hovering around 1700. I would also be willing to set up a pov stream to feed into the casting stream, as I belive FTX suggested in one of his recent posts.

Caster wise I have to say that farms and jagged had a very good synergy, would be great if we could see both of them more often on the channel.

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I don't want to play, but I could co-cast something sometime on the channel

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Willing to play/cast/whatever, but with the weather and stuff getting nice again, I think I would fall under 'as needed' and not fully dependable unless scheduled on an off day for me, or day of to fill in for someone if I happen to be on.

Also, I agree with the issue raised by petric. Livestream casts need to be improved for the viewers if this is to snowball. Zoomed out is very boring unless you are one of the few people like myself who enjoys starting at dots on the map and catching everything. However, there is a very fine balance between zoomed in to see explosions, but you end up missing important stuff in the meantime for the competitive viewers. I have ZERO idea how to go about suggesting a good view ship experience. IDK if you can do split screen and have the whole map show up every so often, while the casters zoom in on the important stuff. Or have one guy shout cast what is in screen, while the other guy on a different screen searches the map for important things. Beats the shit out of me. All I know is it will be hard to make everyone happy, but it needs attention.

I can say, that all of the casts I like to watch have something about them that makes them unique. Winter StarCraft is goofy and likes to yell at people, which can sometimes be fun. Neuro has his whole self zen thing, and self improvement gameplay style for teaching. Tasteless/artosis can somehow make a stream fun without talking about the game at all for the first 8 minutes, somehow. That Russian Yuri guy shoutcasts FAF games with such enthusiasm it makes me want to learn Russian. Jagged is great because he is sort of like TA, he has a nice analysis to stream with some solid dry/deadpan gallows humor. I think at the end of the day, the stream just needs personality.

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Someone should try casting in split-screen. For the opening, show the two players' builds simultaneously. When you're past the opening phase, for the right hand side, zoom all the way out and then leave it alone for the rest of the match. Use the left-hand side only to zoom in and out on parts of the map.

2

Very well said. I love the vision you are laying out and I think this has the potential to truly make forged alliance forever, as this seems like an actual formula for sustainability in the competitive scene. Getting on casts (mostly Jagged) was also a massive motivation for me to start becoming a better player, so this seems like the perfect way to encourage more competition on the scene. I would be down to fill in the quota by playing showmatches/co-casting, and perhaps also try casting.

I agree that the way FA is cast is usually wrong - as you become a better player, you don't have time to zoom in and enjoy the cinematic parts of the game, but that does not carry over well for casting. Casting should be done with low scroll and pan speed, with a focus on actually watching the game and not icons moving around the entire game. I think with some thought put into casting, and perhaps some small changes (maybe in a casting camera control UI mod) to camera controls would go a long way in making the game a better viewing experience.

I've also thought for a long time that FA looks "slow" from a viewers perspective - what's funny is that most RTS games except supcom are actually played at a faster speed than they were initially designed for (aoe2 is played on 1.7x speed, starcraft 2 is played on 1.4x). In the MOBA I used to play a lot, they gave every single hero a baseline 11% movespeed increase at some point to increase the pace of the game. I think it's natural that the pace of the game gets faster as players get better. I like the direction taken with the mech marine and other balance changes, but, here's a half baked idea, perhaps if the game were just entirely played on 1.1x or 1.2x speed or if every unit got a 1.1x or 1.2x speed increase, that would help alleviate the "slowness" inherent in the game especially for viewers. In any case, I think the slowness is a problem and should be addressed.

"I have long-term plans to make a unit interaction redesign mod after some of the balance stuff is out of the way." This sounds interesting and I would like to hear more about this...

1

I have been playing recently quite a few Shared armies games and it's a lot of fun and very action packed, perhaps we could live cast some high level shared armies games? I think it would be very entertaining for the viewers given the constant action and a lot more focus on aggression and unit micro.

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@Tagada I would rather see a shared armies game from the perspective of a player, including their voice chat, than to have observers telling us what's happening. Or perhaps one of the players not only talks to their teammates, but also talks to the audience to explain what's happening.

Just watching a observer describe how 3 people on one team are cooperating and 3 people on the other team are cooperating would be boring because the viewer basically wouldn't see anything different from a 1v1.

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You treat it like a 1vs1 where the game isn't slow because you have so much APM per team.

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It would be like a 1v1 sure, but between 2.8k rated players.